It wouldn't sell

Someone recommended a novel by Henry James called Washington Square, and I can barely get through the 19th century English (it was written in 1881).

Here's a sample from Chapter 1, in what seems to be an emotional moment:

"He walked under the weight of this very private censure for the rest of his days, and bore forever the scars of a castigation to which the strongest hand he knew had treated him on the night that followed his wife's death."

Chapter 23 isn't any more exciting:

"During this period she was less considerate; she had an idea - a rather vague one, but it was agreeable to her sense of injury - that now she was absolved from penance, and might do what she chose."

Wow, how I feel the emotion (not). This book reads more like a technical manual than a novel. It would never sell today.

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